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Beautiful mixed race woman expressing freedom on a summer evening outdoors with her arms outstretched

I talk a lot about forgiveness.   I think it’s because I was such a slave to anger and resentment as a teenager and young adult, it really lead me down a path where I experienced heartache and pain that God never intended for me to walk through.  If I can save someone from having to spend one more day in the hell I was in, it’s all worth it. Even if I do start to sound like a broken record!

How does the world define forgiveness?

Forgiveness is so hard to come by because of the way the culture defines it.  Culture says that if you forgive your ex, that means you’re saying that what he did or said was ok.  You believe that you deserved what happened to you and that there shouldn’t be any consequences for what your ex did.

Not only that, but the culture says you must restore your ex back to where they were in your life, even if you’re being physically hurt by your ex.  That means that if you were use to going to your ex’s house alone to pick up the kids when visitation was over, then you not only do that, but you should do things to prove that you trust him, like being alone in the house with him.  If you don’t prove that you trust him by putting yourself in the same situation (if not worse) when you were hurt before, then you really haven’t forgiven him.

This is the vicious cycle that many abused women find themselves in because they have this twisted belief about what forgiveness looks like and they keep restoring their abusers back to having the same, if not more, control in and over their lives because they think it’s the true act of forgiveness.

I remember my ex use to say all the time about every person he was mad at, which was usually just about everyone he knew, including me, that he couldn’t forgive anybody because that means that they got away with it.  He had to see them suffer before he   would think about extending any forgiveness to that person.

Consider a different spin on the what forgiveness is…

It’s giving up the right to feel angry about what happened to you, even though you did nothing wrong and should feel mad about what your ex did.  You don’t keep thinking about it, rehearsing what happened in your head and imagining what you would do differently if you had the chance to do it over again.  No more calling up your friends and saying what a jerk (and a few more choice words) your ex is and how you want to slam his head in the door a few times and wish that his thang would shrivel up and fall off.

It doesn’t mean that they are restored back to who they were in your life before they hurt you, whether that hurt was emotional or physical.  It doesn’t mean that there are no consequences for you ex.  If you were physically abused, you can forgive and still file charges against him.  Most of the time, that’s the only way that they will receive the help that they need to get better or the only way that they’re going to fear trying to do it again.   It may be the only way to keep you safe right now.

Just because you may be emotionally healed from what your ex did, doesn’t mean that your ex is healed from all the emotional garbage he’s walking in that lead him to do what he did in the first place.  If he’s not healed or in the process of getting healed, he’ll do it again.  He can even get worse!

What can happen if you don’t forgive and let it go?

I’m no doctor, but I’ve learned that anger and resentment release a bad chemical, called Cortisol, into your body. Cortisol makes you age prematurely. Cortisol weakens your immune system. Cortisol attacks your nervous system. Cortisol does bad things to you! Anger and resentment trigger the constant release of Cortisol into your system.

It also takes a lot of energy to be angry all the time. You’re wearing your body down. It’s like the old saying, “stop drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Being angry will give you an ulcer before it ever touches your ex.

Holding on to rage, bitterness and anger keeps you in emotional bondage and can physically make you sick.  You spend so much precious time thinking and meditating on what happened, you’re not focusing on the bright future that God has for you.  It’s time wasted that you’ll never get back.  That’s what the enemy wants. He comes to steal, kill and destroy us.

Forgiveness is NEVER for our exes. It’s not a rubber stamp to say what our exes did was okay. Forgiveness is for us. Forgiveness is our key to freedom so that were not carrying all this toxic stuff into our next relationship.  Please don’t take all this crap with you. It will harm your new relationship.  Even if you don’t want another relationship, it will still harm you.

I use to know a man who was in his late 50’s.  He said that his wife cheated on him every chance she got and everyone in town knew it.  He had been divorced 18 years.  They had no children together.  He had not been in contact with his ex wife since their divorce.

But he was so bound up by his hatred for her, he was still in the same financial position he was 18 years ago, which was a hot mess. He felt she destroyed his business and career.  He talked about her constantly. How much he hated her and wished that he could do something to ruin her career.  And every time he did, his face would change, and this evil demeanor would take over him.

It was absolutely toxic to be around him for any length of time.  The last time I spoke to him, he has physical pain so bad in his gut, that it was starting to wake him up from a sound sleep just about every night.

Don’t let this be your story.  It’s just not worth it.

You can’t put the crown that’s yours on your head and grab hold of all the blessings God has for you, if your hands are filled with anger and resentment.

Let it go! Move on.  And walk in the peace and joy you deserve!

Blessings,

Laura

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